A Prayer for My Family

Priscilla Shirer, the author of Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer, believes that Satan strategically attacks us and recommends that we write prayers to counter his attacks. I am still not convinced that the devil is behind my spiritual struggles but I do see the importance of praying strategically. So far, I have found every issue Priscilla has raised worthy of fervent prayer.

Strategy 4 – Against Your Family

He wants to disintegrate your family, dividing your home, rendering it chaotic, restless, and unfruitful (Genesis 3:1-7)

PRISCILLA SHIRER

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A PRAYER FOR MY FAMILY

Heavenly Father, before I bring my need, I will bring my heart. From the bottom of my heart, thank You for my family. From the day I was born, through all the ups and downs, my family has been a source of unconditional love, friendship, and joy. My family shaped who I am, teaching me, among other things, the value of hard work, perseverance, empathy, and faith.

Father, one of the most important life lessons I learned from my family is the power of forgiveness. For too many years, I resented my mother for things she did and did not do as a single parent. It was only when we almost lost her that I saw her with grace-filled eyes. I am ashamed for holding a grudge for so long. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to forgive mom before she died.

Lord Jesus, when any family member disappoints me, I pray that You will help me to forgive as You forgive me. Help me to see things from their perspective and to remember that we are all a work in progress.

Father, I pray that You will open my eyes to the ways I need to change. Show me how I can be more loving, more supportive, sister, wife, aunt and friend.

Father, thank you for my husband, my best friend for 34 years. Lord, sometimes he gets depressed and withdraws from me and I don’t know how to help him. You know what is on his mind and in his heart. Please help him with whatever he is struggling with.

Lord, I pray for the health and well-being of my large, extended family. Please protect my brothers and sisters and my nieces and nephews and my great nieces and nephews. Please guide them as they face their own struggles. For all my loved ones, I pray the words of The Blessing.1

The Lord bless you and keep you
Make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you 
The Lord turn His face toward you
And give you peace
May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And their children and their children

Lord Jesus, above all else, I pray for the salvation of family members who do not know You, especially those who have outright rejected You. You know the names on my heart and I lift them up to You.

Amen

  1. The Blessing, Elevation Worship with Kari Jobe & Cody Carnes

A Prayer for Focus

I am studying Priscilla Shirer’s book Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer. Priscilla believes that Satan is behind spiritual struggles and recommends that people of faith write specific prayer strategies to counter Satan’s attacks.

Strategy 2 – Against Your Focus

He [Satan] disguises himself and manipulates your perspective so you end up focusing on the wrong culprit, directing your weapons at the wrong enemy.

Priscilla Shirer

A PRAYER FOR FOCUS

Heavenly Father, before I bring my need, I bring a humble and contrite heart. I fall short of your glory and righteousness. You have shown me what is good, yet I know I am not the person you want me to be.

Lord, I have felt every degree of anger from mild annoyance to irritation to anger and rage. I get annoyed with people who don’t behave the way I think they should. I get angry at people who act selfishly and abuse and oppress others. I have blamed others for my problems and carried the heavy weight of resentment.

Father God, I know that Satan loves to instigate hatred and discord. He loves to see your people fighting and tearing each other down. Surely, he delights when I do not produce the fruit of your Spirit, when I am not patient and kind and gentle and in control of my emotions.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Father God, I pray that in my anger, I will not give the devil a foothold. Rid me of all bitterness, rage and anger, insults and slander, and every form of unkindness and ill will. Help me to be kind and compassionate to everyone, forgiving others, just as you forgave me. May my words be wholesome, helpful and uplifting.1

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.2

Father, thank you for all that is good and delightful and beautiful in this world. I pray that your kingdom will come and your will be done on this earth as it is in heaven.

Amen

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1. See Ephesians 4:26-32

2. Psalm 51:10 (ESV)

A Prayer for Renewed Passion

Priscilla Shirer, author of Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer, believes that Satan strategically attacks people of faith. In Fervent, Priscilla recommends that we write specific prayer strategies to counter Satan’s attacks. While I attribute spiritual struggles to my own weaknesses, I see the value in praying strategically.

Strategy 1 – Against Your Passion (“the fuel in the engine of your purpose”)

He [Satan] seeks to dim your whole desire for prayer, dull your interest in spiritual things, and downplay the potency of your most strategic weapons.

Priscilla Shirer

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A PRAYER FOR RENEWED PASSION

Heavenly Father,

Before I bring my need, I will bring my heart. I want to know You. I want to find You – in every season, in every moment. More than anything I want, I want You first.1

Lord Jesus, I confess that sometimes I am so dismayed, so discouraged by the ugliness of this world, that I don’t want to expend energy on spiritual matters.

Lord, I know that Your power is made perfect in my weakness. In my weak moments, in my bleak moments, remind me that You are with me. In every season, in every moment, You are my God. You will strengthen me and help me. You will uphold me with Your righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

Lord Jesus, You gave me my passion for truth and justice and love and mercy. You gave me my purpose in life – to love You with all my heart, mind, soul and spirit and to love others as You first love me. You are the reason for my joy. You are the reason for my hope. I hunger and thirst for your righteousness. Thank you for loving me despite my weaknesses. Thank you for giving your life for me.

Father God, when I am dismayed, when I lose my passion, renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit (Psalm 51:10-12).

Amen

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

  1. Lauren Daigle’s song First reminds me to seek God first before I bring my needs

Praying Strategically

A few weeks ago, I began to study the book Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer, by Priscilla Shirer. Priscilla writes that prayer is “a key part of your offensive weaponry against a cunning foe who prowls around and watches for your weakness, your vulnerable places, for any opportunity to destroy you.” The purpose of her book is to develop specific prayer strategies to counteract Satan’s attempts to discourage believers from praying.

The Powers of Darkness

Priscilla believes that most people either overestimate or underestimate Satan’s influence and power. As a result, they either experience undue fear of Satan or they are unaware of his schemes and are open to every attack.

I have never been one to say “the devil made me do it.” I tend to attribute spiritual struggles to my sinful nature or to weaknesses of my character. Having said that, I do believe that Satan is real and that his dark powers are actively working in this world. Jesus said that the devil is the father of lies (Luke 8:44). The apostle Paul wrote that our struggle is not against people but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:11-12

I have always felt safe from Satan because I belong to God. Satan cannot destroy me! But have I been underestimating Satan’s power to manipulate me? Priscilla asked a probing question:

When you can’t seem to respond to spiritual stimuli with the same optimism and obedience as you once did, why do you think it could only be attributable to your bad character?

Priscilla Shirer

When I get discouraged by the brokenness of this world, when I lose my spiritual zeal, is it because I am too lazy or too easily distracted? Or does Satan know exactly how to curb my enthusiasm, how to silence my voice?

The Power of Prayer

While I continue to wrestle with the question of whether I am vulnerable to the machinations of Satan, I believe in the power of prayer. God moves in mysterious ways – through the Spirit who helps us in our weakness. I don’t always know what I ought to pray for. The Spirit may nudge me to pray for a specific person. The Spirit may nudge me to pray for a cause. The Spirit may nudge me to pray for courage or wisdom or guidance. The Spirit puts the right concerns on my heart at the right time.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Romans 8:26-26 (NIV)

In my last post, I shared how I had been questioning whether I was praying too much about my worries. Yet I knew that the concerns on my heart are in line with God’s will. Priscilla wrote something that I needed to hear:

When you bring your concerns and fears and irritations to the Lord in prayer, you’re aligning your weakling spirit with the full force of God’s Holy Spirit.

Priscilla Shirer

Priscilla also shared some wisdom from her grandmother. Her grandmother wrote her prayer requests in a spiral notebook and prayed over them every morning. When Priscilla asked her why she wrote her prayers in her notebook, she said, “So I won’t forget.”

Write it down so you won’t forget.

Make a daily appointment to pray.

Pray with all kinds of prayers and requests (Ephesians 6:18).

Keep on praying.

Take it to the Lord

One Sunday, my pastor said something to the effect that he spends a lot of his time in prayer telling God about his worries. I know the feeling. As soon as my head hits the pillow, I briefly give thanks and then start unloading my worries about the distressing things I hear in the news. I pray for people who are being deceived. I pray for justice. I pray that the wicked will be held to account. Night after night, I pray about my worries.

My pastor’s comment gave me pause. Should I unload my worries on God when I know that I should not be anxious about anything?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Sometimes when I pray about my worries, it sounds as if I am ‘splainin’ to God all the terrible things that are happening in this world. Why do I feel the need to tell God what He already knows? He knows there is injustice. He knows the wicked are getting away with corruption and deception. He knows people are suffering. He knows people are hurting. He knows, He knows.

He knows
He knows
Every hurt and every sting
He has walked the suffering
He knows
He knows
Let your burdens come undone
Lift your eyes up to the one
Who knows
He knows
-- Jeremy Camp

Thankfully, we don’t have to carry our burdens alone. When we pray about the things that trouble us, we take our worries exactly where we should – to the Lord. Jesus wants to lighten our burdens. He wants to bring us peace.

What A Friend We Have In Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer

Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer

Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer

Truly it is a privilege to have a faithful friend like Jesus. We can take everything to the Lord in prayer – all our sorrows, worries, struggles – everything.

Lord Jesus, thank you for bearing the weight of my sins, for sharing the burden of my daily struggles, and for giving me the peace that surpasses all understanding. You know my every weakness and I confess that I need to be more disciplined about prayer. There is trouble everywhere.

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash